DAY 3 – Saturday Dec 1st
Two hours of sleep, shower and we meet again in the lobby. All of us – no one was giving up and I love my friends for it. We wanted to try something new for breakfast, so we went to Something Else Café. I don’t remember how I found out about it. They are located in the Exchange Alley and have outside seating. We had basic breakfast and everything was spot on. The distinction from other great places – their biscuits. They are the biggest ones I ever got in this town. They were understaffed, but the waitresses never gave up and managed to make it a pleasant experience, I gave them credit for it and a good tip.
After breakfast we went looking for all our favorite street musicians. For some reason, except Smoking Time Jazz Club we never found any of our favorites or any new outstanding ones. No sight of Doreen and Tuba Skinny was in Austin according to their Facebook page. But! We ran into a kids’ marching band in the middle of the FQ. They were incredible and we followed them past Armstrong park into Treme, where some of the weaker people in our group got overwhelmed by the sights and wanted to turn back. Lunch Time!!! This time I told everyone that no matter how long of a line, but we are getting into ACME. We walked up there and there was no line. We really let loose in there. For many people it was their first time trying the grilled oysters and I was jealous because I wish I could experience that first grilled oyster again. We had several pitchers of Abita, which is a great deal at $12 apiece. I don’t know if it’s new or we just weren’t aware of it before, but that was good. Needed to walk it off, ended up on the river at the wooden steps by St Ann. Talked to the gutter punks that were sunbathing there, gave them the rest of our beers. Feeling too full, stopped on Canal for a cup of PJ’s coffee. If you haven’t tried it, do it next time - I think it’s better than community coffee and most certainly better than Starbucks.
Back to hotel for a quick nap and then off to dinner at Stella! I have been drumming up that place to everyone for two years since I went there and unfortunately have to stop now. They have really let their excellence get to their head. First thing we discovered when we got to the restaurant is that there was no more a la carte menu. The website is updated now, but it didn’t say it when I was making reservations. Ok, I guess we will order 4-course. The service was often way too attentive and a bit snobby. While our sommelier was very funny and friendly, he NEVER stopped upselling to an already expensive meal. The food was great, but not as good as two years ago, I could judge by the 5-way duck. The duck “soup” was WAY too salty (too much soy sauce?) and the desserts were unimpressive. When I looked into the kitchen, everyone looked suspiciously too young to work there. Maybe I’m being too harsh on them, but my first meal at Stella! Was the best meal I ever had and this one never came to being a second or third. What did come however, was a bill that was 50% LARGER than last time for the same amount of dishes. That kind of spoiled the mood for the next hour or so. Luckily there’s nothing that a few whiskeys and hurricanes couldn’t fix.
My friends all love going to Old Opera House to hang out and listen to the cover songs so I obliged. The mood has improved drastically. We then caught a cab back to Hi Ho lounge for a burlesque show. This was another “community” version of burlesque, so we left during the intermission. On the bright side, we must have saved at least $50 a piece by getting loaded on NOLAs traditional drink – yep, you guessed it, Jameson & PBR! Went to Frenchmen street, listened to brass band at Maison (can’t remember who) and decided since it was 2:00AM it was time for our last stop. That stop is Barely Legal on Bourbon. We always liked this place at the end of the night to sort of wind down in soft chairs and calmer environment. This place has now undergone further improvements. It’s remodeled and they have a seemed to have “upgraded” in staff – everyone, from the dancers to floor managers. One girl has organized an impromptu training session where she invited our wives on stage and gave them a two minute lesson of pole dancing. We were entertained and the girl made a ton of money. The manager was sweating as our girls nearly fell off trying to get on and off the stage. Left around 4:00AM. For some reason the upper blocks of Bourbon didn’t seem as seedy this time.